Paper in Patient Education and Counseling
  • Smith B, Juraskova I, Butow P, Miguel C, Chang S, Lopez A. Brown R, Bernhard J. (2011). Sharing vs. Caring - The relative impact of sharing decisions versus managing emotions on patient outcomes. Patient Education and Counseling, 82:233–239.

    Objective: To assess the relative impact of cognitive and emotional aspects of shared decision making (SDM) on patient outcomes.

    Methods: Cognitive and emotional aspects of SDM in consultations between 20 oncologists and 55 early breast cancer patients were coded using the Observing Patient Involvement (OPTION) scale and the Response to Emotional Cues and Concerns (RECC) coding system, plus blocking and facilitating behaviour scales. Patient outcomes including anxiety, decisional conflict, and satisfaction with: (i) the decision, (ii) the consultation, and (iii) doctor SDM skills, were assessed. Relationships between cognitive and emotional aspects of SDM, and patient outcomes were examined using hierarchical regression.

    Results: The OPTION score predicted satisfaction with doctor SDM skills 2 weeks post-consultation (p = .010), and with the treatment decision 4 months post-consultation (p = .004). Emotional blocking predicted decisional conflict (p = .039), while the number of emotional cues emitted (p = .003), and the degree of empathy provided (p = .011), predicted post-consultation anxiety.

    Conclusion: Cognitive and emotional aspects of SDM in oncology consultations have different effects on various patient outcomes.

    Practice implications: It is important that doctors focus on both sharing decisions and managing emotions in consultations. Communication skills training addressing both these areas may be an effective way to improve diverse patient outcomes.